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Writing and Humanistic Studies

Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies
Photo by Nicholas Altenbernd

The MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies gives students the opportunity to learn the techniques, forms, and traditions of several kinds of writing, from basic expository prose to more advanced forms of non-fictional prose, fiction and poetry, science writing, scientific and technical communication and digital media. Our faculty consists of novelists, essayists, poets, translators, biographers, historians, engineers, and scientists.

Program subjects are arranged by four areas: exposition and rhetoric, creative writing, science writing, and technical communication. In each area, introductory subjects lead to more specialized advanced subjects. Introductory subjects are designed for students with little experience in writing. Advanced subjects are for students who have mastered the elements of sentence and paragraph structure. A number of the advanced subjects use writing as a vehicle to explore humanistic and scientific issues in a broad cultural context.

The Graduate Program in Science Writing is a 12-month course of study leading to a Master of Science degree. Aimed at students who wish to write about science and technology for general readers, the program is built around an intensive two-semester advanced science-writing seminar. Links to other MIT programs and departments - such as the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships program, Comparative Media Studies, and the Program in Science, Technology and Society - provide rich resources for students who come to the Graduate Program in Science Writing from a variety of backgrounds.

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Available Courses » View courses numerically

MIT Course #Course Title
21W.745 Advanced Essay Workshop, Spring 2005
21W.784 Becoming Digital: Writing About Media Change, Fall 2005
21W.747-3 Classical Rhetoric and Modern Politics, Spring 2006
21W.785 Communicating in Cyberspace, Fall 2003
21W.780 Communicating in Technical Organizations, Spring 2006
21W.780 Communicating in Technical Organizations, Spring 2005
21W.780 Communicating in Technical Organizations, Fall 2001
21W.730-3 Consumer Culture, Fall 2002
21W.739J Darwin and Design, Fall 2003
21W.739J Darwin and Design, Fall 2002
21W.772 Digital Poetry, Fall 2005
21W.749 Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of A World In Motion, Spring 2002
21W.730-2 Expository Writing - Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about Food and Culture, Fall 2005
21W.730-4 Expository Writing: Analyzing Mass Media, Spring 2001
21W.730-3 Expository Writing: Autobiography - Theory and Practice, Spring 2001
21W.730-1 Expository Writing: Exploring Social and Ethical Issues through Film and Print, Fall 2002
21W.730-1 Expository Writing: Social and Ethical Issues in Print, Photography and Film, Fall 2005
21W.746 Humanistic Perspectives on Medicine: From Ancient Greece to Modern America, Spring 2005
21W.730-1 Imagining the Future, Spring 2004
21W.765J Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice, Spring 2006
21W.765J Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice, Spring 2004
21W.732-2 Intro to Tech Communication, Fall 2002
21W.732-2 Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and Technology, Fall 2006 NEW
21W.732-5 Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing, Fall 2006 NEW
21W.732-1 Introduction to Technical Communication: Perspectives on Medicine and Public Health, Spring 2007 NEW
21W.747 Rhetoric, Spring 2005
21W.747-1 Rhetoric, Spring 2006
21W.747-1 Rhetoric, Fall 2006
21W.747-2 Rhetoric: Rhetoric of Science, Spring 2006
21W.783 Science and Engineering Writing for Phase II, Fall 2002
21W.730-2 The Creative Spark, Fall 2004
21W.777 The Science Essay, Spring 2004
21W.765J Theory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive Narrative, Spring 2003
21W.734J Writing About Literature, Fall 2006
21W.775 Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues, Fall 2006 NEW
21W.742J Writing About Race, Spring 2003
21W.731-4 Writing and Experience, Spring 2002
21W.731-1 Writing and Experience: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace, Fall 2005
21W.731-1 Writing and Experience: Exploring Self in Society, Spring 2004
21W.756 Writing and Reading Poems, Fall 2006
21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories, Fall 2006 NEW
21W.735 Writing and Reading the Essay, Fall 2005
21W.735 Writing and Reading the Essay, Fall 2004
21W.730-3 Writing and the Environment, Spring 2005